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United Arab Emirates:
Freedom of expression is missing despite a decision banning imprisonment for press crimes
Libya Must Release the Opinion Prisoners Instead of Handing Phony Speeches about Reform
Cairo 2 nd of September 2008
The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said today that the Libyan President should release the opinion prisoners, especially on the occasion of his thirty-ninth presidential anniversary, instead of his repetitive fake promises about reform and corruption combat, which he got used to release every year without any tangible procedures to limit the restrictions on both civil and political freedoms in Libya.
The Libyan President yesterday gave a speech, in the celebration of his thirty-nine years in Presidency, which included many statements and promises of more reform; the speech in fact does not differ from the past occasions except in the shape of the given statements, which are similar to those he gave in past years; the president has not taken any step forward in support of democracy for this country, which has a long history of oppression, abuse, and unfair trials.
The ANHRI expected that the Libyan President would have started his speech with the announcement of the release of the Libyan opinion prisoners- on top of which are the “Al-Shohadaa” (Martyrs) square prisoners, who were unfairly trialed because of their organization of a march in “Al- Shohadaa” square in February 2007-Especially that the President’s speech came after his son’s (Seif Al-Qathafi) speech, in which he announced his retreat due to the deteriorating circumstances in Libya. However it has become very clear that all the speeches given by the Libyan President and his son, are nothing more than mere words in conference rooms and at events, but nothing happened on the ground.
The ANHRI stated that “Any Reform processes and any promises that do not include the release of Edriss Boufayed and Jamal Al-Haji, and their fellow opinion prisoners, keeps Libya on the list of the most tyrannical countries that lack civil and political freedoms for their citizens; for all Libyan speeches on reform are considered only to be material for media consumption”.
It is still valid that Libyan Law still criminalize any Party’ activities; further to this, prison is known to be the only destiny for any journalist or any citizen who criticizes the government or the Libyan leader, not to mention the various unfair trials that ended up with their accused in prisons, such as the case of the “Al-Shahadaa” square, which took place in “Abou-Selim” prison, in the Libyan Capital, Tripoli, and in which eleven activist were sent to jail for years varying from six to twenty-five, all this just for their organization of a march that revealed and opposed all sorts of corruption and oppression in the country.